Combustion is still the most important energy conversion technology. Combustible energy carriers meet by far most of final energy demand in Switzerland (73 per cent). Many applications will continue to rely on combustion systems far into the future. However, the objective of a decarbonized energy sector requires further improvements in the exergetic efficiency as well as the use of alternative fuels that contain less carbon or are derived from biogenic sources. Moreover, air emissions have to be reduced further.
The research programme "Combustion Based Energy Systems" covers combustion engines and gas turbines from the kilowatt to the multi megawatt scale, in the application areas of mobility, industrial processes, power generation and combined heat and power (CHP. SFOE funded research projects cover a broad range of topics, which reflects the country's internationally recognized research capacity and globally active enterprises. Examples include investigations of combustion reactions at molecular scale as well as the development of novel CHP plants and their integration into energy supply systems.
Sustainable system improvements do not only call for a comprehensive understanding of complex combustion processes, but they also entail influences from fuel properties and often highly dynamic operating modes of combustion equipment. Hence it is necessary to explore physical and chemical processes more rigorously and to advance the state of the art in simulation tools, experimental set-ups and the corresponding measurement techniques. Pre- and post-combustion steps like injection, turbo charging and exhaust aftertreatment also play important roles. The integration of combustion equipment according to application specific requirements is the focus of holistic system designs and optimizations.